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A Teenage boy with a passion for all things nerdy! Expect a lot of Doctor Who, Cult/Horror Movies, Literature and Novels, History, Comic Books and random thoughts. Posts published weekly on a Friday evening. DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the items reviewed on this site and i also do not own of the pictures (unless stated so). If you own one of the photos and wish for it to be removed contact me at this adress: Super.pig@live.co.uk. However all of the written work is my own and is protected under copyright law.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

A Tribute to Richard Johnson

Born in good old England like my previous “tribute” actor Richard Johnson is best known among horror fans for his role as Doctor David Menard in the 1979 classic Zombie Flesh Eaters (or Zombie or Zombie 2 etc, etc) and as another Doctor, Doctor Markway in The Haunting (1963) but his work in the horror genre is much more than these two films.

His first venture into the wonder full world of horror movies is the above mentioned The Haunting. Often called the best haunted house or ghost movie of all time it’s subtle little chiller that puts shame to the big budget remake. Johnson plays the head of a group investigating the paranormal and he plays the role perfectly.

His next role in the horror world was in The Witch (1966) in which he had the staring role. In this he plays a young historian who is payed to organise a widows collection of erotic writings that belonged to her late husband. The film does not have great reputation and one cannot help but wonder that if the film had done better Johnson would have been given more horror roles since here he plays the main role.

It would be eight years until his next horror role in 1974’s Beyond The Door, an Italian knock off of The Exorcist (1973). In this he played Dimmittri a Satanist who discovered the error of his ways in the films climax. Then in 1975 came The Night Child often classed as a exorcist rip off but having not seen the film myself I have heard it is very different. A smaller role featured three years later in Pete Walkers, The Comeback.

Island Of The Fishmen followed in 1979, in which Johnson played a mad scientist role similar to that of Dr Menard (im coming to that in a second). The film was more sci-fi adventure than horror realy but when released in america on video in the 80’s was retitled screamers and had a new prologue shot with extra gore. Once again a superb Johnson preformance helped carry the film.

My personal favourite of all of Johnsons horror roles however (and probably his best known) occured in the same year as Island Of The Fishmen and is of course Dr Menard from Zombie Flesh Eaters aka Zombi 2 aka Lucio Fulci’s Zombie. Menard would of been without doubt a hard character to play. The audience never realy knows whther he is hero or villain. Johnson however makes sure that when Menard needs to be sympathised with that the audeince does just that, and when he needs to be feared likewise. The preformance is incredbly powerfull as Menard is also shown to act as if he is on another planet at some points, grumblingand muttering with large pauses in his speech however his actions towards his wife tell a darker story.

A few other horror roles followed in both movies and tv but nothing could top Zombie, Johnson is still working today and I for one hope that he will make a return to the genre so that he can widen his horror legacy.

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